Lost Idealism
by: Joana Dey

This poem first appeared in No Holds Barred #16 and is re-printed here with the permission of the publisher and author. No Holds Barred is still in print and available.

(The Chief)

Haven't figured it out yet?
You're fighting a war with the world--
and you're not going to win.
Why keep trying?
Give it up, Cade.
Mr. Do-Good, trying to save us all,
while destroying what you hold dear.

You advocate an un-armed force,
but carry a gun at your side.
That double message cost a life
you'd probably rather have spared.
A man traded his for yours
--which more precious?--
one of the few still loyal
--albeit misguided, and finally lethal.
Is it a loss you feel, Mr. Maverick Chief?
Or do you just go about every day
replacing what's disappeared?

You alienate those who would help.
And ignore ones who disagree
with whatever new policy you make,
then ram down the throats
of the souls you think to save.
People don't change overnight, Cade;
you can't make a new world,
when the town you're in turns away.

Dedication to duty...where's Marie?
How warmly does such commitment
enfold at the end of the day?
When you wake in the black
of unending night and there's nothing
and nobody there, do you wish,
very quietly, for idealism to drain,
leaving room for the life of a man?

It's been long enough now
you should have learned patience.
To think and then speak--
check who's in front or in back,
listening and weighing each word
spewing forth from your hapless mouth?
What you say, what you think,
is not what 'they' hear,
those faceless enemies
as they to show the whole world
what a joke is their Maverick Chief.

They'll twist
and turn
and show upside down
the very depths of your hurting old soul.
No remorse or compassion
stops any of them while they dance
as they plan for your grave.
They'll bury you deep, Alan Cade;
deep and so fast down below!
No-one will see; no-one will miss
the noble reformer who tried
to transform their world.

Give it up, Mr. Cade, stop trying.
Or do you like air around you,
filled with deep-lasting rancour;
constricting your lungs with hostility
each time you attempt a new breath?
It's our fault I know, choice was ours
we picked you, it's our shame.
You aren't what we thought you were.

Get out now, before threats amplify
and become a removal by death.
Think hard, Alan Cade,
and in what you decide, be wise:
the world can't be saved by a man
with a hole where his heart used to be